Ok, I have returned.
The reason we were travelling down to the US in the first place was because of our friends, Cale and Victoria. They were getting married in Cedar Falls, IA, and since flights were pretty pricey, we decided that we’d borrow a trailer (from my MIL’s friends) and make a road trip out of it.
On the first leg our our journey, we travelled down through Michigan and visited our friend Chris. He was one of Craig’s groomsmen at our wedding and lives about 40 minutes north of Grand Rapids.
After a few days there, we travelled on to Iowa, with an overnight stop in Utica, IL so we weren’t driving too long of stretches for Emily. Friday to Sunday we were celebrating with the Robinson family and enjoyed a delicious Mexican fiesta for the rehearsal dinner.
Next, we travelled back to Illinois so we could spend some time in Chicago. We stayed in a RV park near Yorkville, IL, and when we were driving in there both Craig and I had the first impression of “this is where horror movies take place”. It was seriously creepy. Luckily we were spending as little time in/at the trailer as possible already at this point, so we just made sure we were locked up tight at night and Craig kept a knife by the bed (he couldn’t bring a gun across the border…lol). We tried deep dish pizza for the first time (meh.) and visited our first Trader Joe’s (amazing.) our first night out.
In Chicago we visited the Shedd Aquarium then walked along the waterfront to the Navy Pier. Emily LOVED the fish and dolphins at the aquarium and we even dressed her up as a penguin at one point. At the pier, we ate dinner, enjoyed some Starbucks (I think we stopped there about 10 times over the course of the trip…it was vacation, right?) and took a ride on the ferris wheel, where I took a bunch of great photos of my family and the Chicago skyline.
Once we were done in Chicago, we travelled straight through Indiana and Iowa to Grove City, PA. We’d heard there was some tax free shopping in that state, so we visited the outlets and bought a bunch of Christmas presents and part of a new wardrobe for myself (I’ve lost 15lbs, woot woot!).
After 2 nights in PA, we made the relatively short (after 10 days of driving) trip home to Collingwood. At this point Emily is a veteran road tripper and on the 7-8 hour drive home, I think we only ever heard her cry once; that was after 8pm when she was needing bedtime. The rest of the time she naps or plays with her toys and books, or I sit in the back and we play games.
Originally, we were planning to travel on from PA to New York City for a few days, then on up the East Coast through Massachusetts and then back through Vermont and New York.
Our first evening in Chicago (our second night in the trailer) we were getting Emily ready for bed and noticed all sorts of red splotches around her belly button and under her arms. She had been playing on the ground at the campsite so I wondered at first if there were bug bites or something, so I rubbed some cream on them and finished getting her ready.
The next morning the splotches around her belly button had gone away, but her chest and under her arms were almost solid red. I bought some hydrocortisone cream at Target and tried that, but the next morning it was even worse, so we decided to take her to a doctor at the local clinic. After lots of head scratching the doctor thought she had hives and we answered all sorts of questions about any new things Emily had been in contact with. We told her about Em crawling around at the campsite, and the doctor agreed it could be something there. We had bathed her that night after she was crawling around, but it still could have irritated her or she breathed something in. Thank God for Craig’s Blue Cross coverage through the military, because all we had to pay for was the $13 prescription for Prednisilone, which we’ll submit for our money back.
That day, we travelled on to Utica, and while we were there, we washed all of our clothing and the sheets with her detergent (soap nuts), and that day (Friday) she had her best day yet, with freshly cleaned clothing and on the prednisilone. We thought we had figured it out and she would get better over a couple of days, but still, every morning when we woke up she would be covered with hives, and over the course of the day while we were away from the trailer she would get better. If she wore clothing that hadn’t been in the trailer, she had her best days. We soon realized that something about the trailer was making her sick and made the decision to come home early as subjecting her to 10 extra days in the trailer (and constant ‘allergic’ reactions) would have been a bad idea.
Our best guess is that there is mold or something growing in the trailer, as part of the linoleum floor against one wall is buckled from water leaking in at some point and who knows what is growing under there.
All in all we had a great trip together as a family, and I’m excited for future vacations because Craig has promised me a trip to New York City just the two of us!